Making the Computer the Patient’s Friend

I had migraines – bad ones. It got to the point where I was taking aspirin almost daily, temporarily getting rid of the headache but also having painful effects on my stomach.

So my wife “encouraged” me to see a migraine specialist (or – as I put it – my headache doctor). And – over time – it worked; I haven’t taken an aspirin since that first visit 5-6 years ago, and my headaches rarely come back. But the reason I’m sharing this is that I read a study recently that reminded me of my headache doctor.

In 2012, the American Medical Association came out with a report on the use and impact of computers in exam room interactions between physicians and patients. The first time I ever had a physician appointment where a doctor utilized a computer in the room during my appointment was with my headache doctor. She used it to document notes, write prescriptions, review my history, and do many other tasks while I was with her – but it was never an issue. She used it well…

  • She positioned the computer where I could see what she was doing (so I didn’t have concerns about what she was documenting)
  • She didn’t complain about the computer (so there was no negativity added to the conversation)
  • She explained what she was doing (so I knew the reason she was documenting while I was present)
  • She was effective at navigating the application (so that the process didn’t delay treatment)
  • And she balanced her viewing of the computer with her eye contact with me as she typed (so I continued to feel important to her).

These are good lessons for anyone using the technology in front of the customer. The computer (or tablet or smart phone) doesn’t have to be a barrier to great customer service. It just needs to be used correctly.

Make the computer the patient’s friend.

Listen to our latest customer service podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

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